Jan 25, 2015

This week in Nano: Week 4(Jan 19th- Jan 25th)

This week sees a publication (AdvancedMaterials) of a paper reporting a nanoparticle designed by researchers from University at Buffalo that can be detected by six medical imaging techniques! Yes you heard right. That is 6. Termed hypermodal imaging or hexamodal imaging the particle can be detected by:

1-Computed tomography (CT) scanning
2- Positron emission tomography (PET) scanning
3- Photoacoustic imaging
4- Upconversion imaging
5- Fluorescence imaging
6- Cerenkov luminescence imaging 

With no instrument currently available that can actually measure these 6 things at once and with waiting lists for a regular CT scan at my local hospital being 1 year I hope never to have my doctor mention this diagnostic technique. Of course I do hope it will spur on the invention of new diagnostic tools. 

Nanomaterials as anti cancer drugs. A study reported in ACS nano from Radboud University has shown a nonmaterial loaded with a sialic acid-blocking glycomimetic successfully prevents cancer metastasis in mice. In other words packing nanomaterials with this drug targeted to cancer cells and injecting them into mice in a lab study has been successful for preventing the spread of cancer in the mice.

They may not be nanosized but this week’s story on micromotors cant be left out! I have just tweeted a moving image of the micromotors in action from ACS nano (RT from compound Interest). Researchers have demonstrated a simple micromotor (zinc based)  that can propel itself inside the body of a mouse. When introduced into a mouse’s stomach, the micromotor moves to the stomach lining,  the body of the motors gradually dissolves in the gastric acid, autonomously releasing their cargo. Sounds like science fiction - but it is science fact. Read all about it here.

Jan 18, 2015

This week in Nano Week 3 (Jan 12- Jan 18th)

Welcome to the world of nanocrystals. What are nanocrystals I hear you say - well simply put they are nanomaterials composed of  atoms in a single/poly-crystalline arrangement. A research paper published by JACS called ’Decoding the Superlatticeand Interface Structure of Truncate PbS Nanocrystal-Assembled Supercrystal andAssociated Interaction Forces’ published this week (paywalled) looks at the structure of individual nanocrystals  and larger ‘supercrystals’ grown in the lab with electron microscopy. Given that characterisation of these types of structures are more complex than spheres and their wide range of applications (e.g. medicine and electronic) it is a good step forward for those involved with NM design and crystal formation.

Discovered a nice new website called The Future of Things (TFOT). There are ‘dedicated to bringing unique and fun content on science, technology, and medicine to the general public’. This article on the recently published paper investigating how silicon dioxide nanoparticles increase atherogenicity gives a very good overview not only on the paper itself but also on nanomaterials and atherosclerosis

Phototherapy+nanoparticles= improved identification and surgical removal of malignant tumours. Read all about the current work from the Ohio State University here.

Jan 11, 2015

This week in Nano Week 2 (Jan 5th - 11th)

Those working with products that use silica-based nanoparticles (chip makers those working with drug delivery or medical diagnostics) may be interested to read the paper out this week looking at increased cardiovascular risk and silicon dioxide NP exposure. Published in Environmental Toxicology the showed NP exposure was linked to pro-atherogenic effects (in vitro study/macrophages). They measured LDH release (cytotoxicity), increased oxidative stress and triglyceride accumulation. The original research paper can be found (paywalled) here and an article about this article can be found here.


A study has been published demonstrating how pulmonary immunization (inhaled vaccination) may be more effective when protein-loaded nanoparticles are synthesized with a positive surface charge. This study published by PNAS and accessible here (paywalled) shows how the positively charged NP induced antibody responses following pulmonary administration, whereas negatively charged nanoparticles did not. 

The mystery surrounding why grephene oxide (GO) were highly stable in water has been solved! Just a case of contamination during preparation of GO. This is a nice article entitled’ Freshmen-levelchemistry solves the solubility mystery of graphene oxide films ‘ from physics.org.

Jan 4, 2015

This week in Nano: Week 1 (Dec 29th- Jan4th)

An international research group based in Tel Aviv University have reported in the journal NANOletters (paywalled: SemiconductorNanorod–Carbon Nanotube Biomimetic Films for Wire-Free Photostimulation ofBlind Retinas) a material (semiconductor nanorods and carbon nanotubes) that can create a wireless, light-sensitive, flexible film that could potentially help those with age related macular degeneration 

The New Yorker ran a nice article on Graphene last month. See it here

Rice University published results of a bioaccumulation food chain study. They looked at uptake and accumulation of quantum dots from water to plants to caterpillars. They found that accumulation did occur up the chain but that nanoparticle accumulation in both plants and animals varied significantly depending upon the type of surface coating applied to the particles. The research is available online in the American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science & Technology.

In other news the EU commission published guidance for employers and workers on the safe use of nano in the workplace See it here.